Monday, December 21, 2015

Why The Force Awakens is all a part of Luke's plan, Finn is Lando's son and other huge Star Wars spoilers and plot ideas!


Force Awakens is all about Luke Skywalker, even though he doesn’t actually appear until the last minute and doesn’t say a word. But the first line of the crawl is “Luke Skywalker has disappeared”. The movie is, effectively, all about him. He is the key.

We know that is a given, so perhaps all the (seemingly) random events of Force Awakens are part of Luke’s overall plan. Remember what happened in Return Of The Jedi when Luke tried to break Han out of Jabba’s palace?

There was a seemingly random series of events, some of which could have ended tragically, but it all came together eventually to see Luke and his friends triumphant.

Is this what is happening in the new trilogy?

Let’s look at the evidence.

A mysterious man just “happens” to have the missing piece of the map to Luke’s whereabouts on the same planet where Rey has been left and where the Millennium Falcon is waiting. And Han Solo and Chewie are loitering in the system nearby to save them when they break out.

Sure, that’s could just all be a coincidence …

Then we have R2D2, who is powered down but wakes up at just the “right” moment. Remember, R2D2 was one of only two people who knew Luke’s full plan to take out Jabba.

Who was the other? Lando Calrissian. Strange, perhaps, to trust someone who had just betrayed Han and Leia to Vader but Lando knew what was going on, when even Leia was apparently kept in the dark. (I can’t see her agreeing to Luke’s plan and putting herself in that dodgy bikini for Jabba’s enjoyment).

And where does Lando come into all of this? Well, is he perhaps Finn’s father?

Finn is a mysterious character, who is able to show up at just the right moment to save the day. He displays no apparent mastery of The Force but plenty of skill with blasters and ship lasers. He can appreciate really good flying and has a mix of self-preservation and bravery that sums up Lando pretty well.

We know Luke trusts Lando and it follows that Lando trusts Luke. Was it enough to give up one of his sons and place him into the Stormtrooper program? I think so.

Now, it could be that Finn is just a random character. But I think not. His lack of lightsaber skill and ability with The Force seemingly rules out a relative of Mace Windu. So I’m thinking Lando is his dad. And it means Finn is perfectly placed to help the others out.

Then we come to Rey.

Surely she is either the daughter of Han and Leia (thus Ben/Kylo Ren’s sister) or maybe Luke’s daughter. She has an uncanny ability to fly and massive power within The Force. That’s a big tick either way.

She was obviously placed on Jakku for a reason. Likewise, the map was placed there for a reason. And Leia sends Poe there at exactly the right time? Maybe, or maybe it’s all part of a plan.

Talking of Leia, did she send Han out to die? She tells him to “bring our son home”. She had to have known that Ben/Ren wasn’t going to turn away from a life of evil that easily. But killing your father is a big step, one that will surely return to haunt Ben/Ren. Was that perhaps the first rock that starts the avalanche and propels Ben/Ren back to the light?

Would she sacrifice the love of her life to get back her son? Hell, yes!

Now, obviously we shall find out the answers to these questions, and more, in the next two films.

Meanwhile, keep an eye on those bulletin boards to see who is listed for guest roles in Eps 8 and 9. If Lando’s back, then I reckon I’m right …   

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ebook release dates for The Bloody Quarrel, book two of the series!

Release dates for The Bloody Quarrel, book 2 of the series are ready!
Here they go ...
The Bloody Quarrel Episode 1: Thursday 3 December
The Bloody Quarrel Episode 2: Thursday 10 December
The Bloody Quarrel Episode 3: Thursday 17 December
The Bloody Quarrel Episode 4: Thursday 31 December
The Bloody Quarrel Episode 5: Thursday 7 January
The Bloody Quarrel Complete Edition: Thursday 11 February

It's Tour Time again!

With The Last Quarrel coming out in print in Australia and New Zealand (don't forget, you can order it Print On Demand through Amazon if you are in America or the UK), it's time for me to hit the road.
I'll be touring around NSW, the ACT and Victoria in October, including some fun book conventions as well as book stores.
If you come along to one of those days then you could take part in a fun Twitter/Facebook giveaway that could see you win a book pack or maybe enjoy a discount for the eBook to go with your print edition ...
Here's where you can catch me:
Thurs Oct 1:
Dymocks Canberra: 11am
Dymocks Tuggeranong: 2pm
Friday Oct 2:
Dymocks Belconnen 10am
Hooked On Books Batemans Bay 2.30pm
Saturday Oct 3:
Shoalhaven Superheroes convention (booksales for DeanSwift ABC Books Nowra)
Tuesday Oct 6
Galaxy Books 11am
Wed Oct 7
Dymocks George Street store: 12pm
Thurs Oct 8:
11am: Dymocks Penrith
5pm: Dymocks Macquarie Centre
Friday Oct 9:
11am: Dymocks Burwood
2.30pm: Dymocks Chatswood
Sat Oct 10:
Dymocks Tuggerah 1pm
Sun Oct 11:
Dymocks Rouse Hill 11am
Wed Oct 14:
Dymocks Collins St Melbourne: 11am
Dymocks Victoria Gardens: 2pm
Thurs Oct 15:
Dymocks Knox: 10am
Dymocks Glen Waverley 1pm
Dymocks Southland: 5pm
Fri Oct 16:
Dymocks Eastland 10am
Dymocks Doncaster 1pm
Sat Oct 17:
Dymocks Parramatta
Sun Oct 18:
Sydney Book Expo at Olympic Park
Thursday October 22:
Event night at Berkelouw Hornsby: 6pm

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Guest post with Claire Boston: How far would you go for love?

In The Last Quarrel, the main characters Fallon and Bridgit are driven to extremes by love and the need to get back together, set against a backdrop of a world falling to evil.
One of the questions that runs not just through a genre like fantasy but through every style of fiction - as well as real life - is: How far would you go for love? Would you lie, cheat, steal, torture, even kill?
I asked fellow Momentum Books author Claire Boston to consider this question.

Claire's new book, All That Sparkles, is released on April 23. If you've not read Claire Boston before, here's a little bit about her:
Claire Boston was a voracious reader as a child, devouring anything by Enid Blyton as well as series such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. Then one school holidays when she’d run out of books to read her mother handed her Hot Ice by Nora Roberts and Claire instantly fell in love with romance novels.
The love of reading soon turned to a love of writing and she struggled to keep within the 1500 word limit set by her teachers for her creative writing assignments. When she finally decided to become serious about her stories she joined Romance Writers of Australia, found her wonderful critique group and hasn’t looked back.
When Claire’s not reading or writing she can be found in the garden attempting to grow vegetables, or racing around a vintage motocross track. If she can convince anyone to play with her, she also enjoys cards and board games.
Claire lives in Western Australia, just south of Perth, with her husband, who loves even her most annoying quirks, and her two grubby but adorable Australian bulldog. And here's a little about her new book ...

Imogen Fontaine is living every girl's dream. 
She is a fashion designer for her family's haute couture label, lives in a mansion, has a great circle of friends and is the apple of her father's eye. Everything is perfect. 
Until the day that Christian, the boy at the center of her childhood heartbreak, walks back into her life. 
From there her life starts to unravel, as long-kept secrets are revealed. Imogen learns that her past was built on lies and betrayal, shattering the illusion of her perfect existence. She must seek out the truth if she has any hope of forging a new path for herself and discovering true freedom.
But can she convince Christian that there is a place for him in her new life?

Want to know more? You can pick up All That Sparkles on the Momentum website. And now, over to Claire...

When Duncan first approached me and mentioned we should do a blog swap writing about characters being forced into extremes for love my initial thought was I don’t have anything relevant to say. I write contemporary romance which is relatively light. Extremes aren’t really part of what I write (especially when compared to Duncan!).

Then I remembered Remy Fontaine, my heroine’s father, and my editor’s extreme dislike of him because of his actions and I realised that everyone has different opinions based on their own life experiences. Before I go any further I have to give a SPOILER ALERT. If you haven’t read All that Sparkles yet, some of what I write will give away key turning points in the story so I suggest you buy the book, read it and then come back to this post. J

Remy was such an easy character to write. Everything he said just flowed from my fingertips and I loved writing him. Let me introduce you to him.

Remy is in his seventies, a world famous haute couture fashion designer, who is filthy rich and has a single daughter, Imogen who is in her twenties. His wife and the love of his life died just days after giving birth to Imogen. His whole life revolves around his fashion empire and his daughter.

He was born in France and as a child he was shipped around foster homes with no one really loving him. He finally ran away when he was sixteen. It wasn’t until he met his wife, that he found anyone who really understood him, and with whom he could share his past. He loved her deeply, despite their twenty-year age gap.

When she died, he was distraught. To compound matters, her family in their grief, blamed him for her death. Desperate to protect his only child from the kind of hate he’d suffered as a child, he became overly protective of her. He forbade his wife’s family from seeing Imogen, she went to a private girls’ school where all of her friends had to be approved by him and when she was finally old enough to leave home, he manipulated her into staying with him. In spite of this Imogen grew up to be a sweet and reasonably well-adjusted woman. You see Remy also doted on his daughter, giving her everything she wanted and spending as much time with her as he could. He was essentially her only friend.

Some people may see Remy’s actions as a type of child abuse, but his actions are understood when you look at the context of his upbringing. While he is preventing Imogen from finding her own friends, he’s also protecting himself from criticism and judgement of those around him and protecting her from his own childhood hurts. His treatment is definitely an extreme of love, but as with any good romance, there is a happily ever after.

If you do read All that Sparkles, I’d love to hear what you thought about Remy. You can leave a comment below, or find me at:

Twitter @clairebauthor

Monday, March 16, 2015

The best advice Game Of Thrones author George RR Martin gave Joe Abercrombie

I was lucky enough to interview Joe Abercrombie for The Sunday Telegraph while he was touring Australia. The truncated interview appeared on March 15. Here's the full version:

Never become famous. It's one piece of advice British fantasy author Joe Abercrombie hopes to live by.
It's one thing that Game Of Thrones author George RR Martin told him although Abercrombie, whose works combine plenty of violence, sex and moral ambiguity, may have to put that to the test if, as rumoured, his books are turned into the "next" Game Of Thrones TV series.
"I think (fame) would be lovely when you haven't experienced it," Abercrombie, who was out in Australia to promote his latest book Half The World, said.
"But it can't go back in the box. George Martin told me, never become famous, never become recognisable. It's done great things for him and his series but he does regret it. He has reporters camping out the front of his house."
So how is Abercrombie going on the fame scale?
"The paparazzi run me over in their rush to get to the real celebrities," he said.
"Being recognised is extremely rare. It has happened but it is very rare and is often quite random, which is one of the nice things about being a writer. You can still go about your routine." 
He is realistic about the jump to television, which has catapulted Game Of Thrones into the consciousness.
"There is some nibbling going on but if I had signed up, I'd have to say 'no comment'," he said.
"So maybe I should say no comment!
"It all moves with incredibly wintry slowness and anything could fall apart at any moment."
Strangely for an author who made his name with ultra-violent, non-heroic fantasy books with lashings of sex, his latest series is aimed at teenagers.
"I think I did it to avoid boredom," he said.
"It seemed like a good opportunity to expand to a slightly different audience. It was quite liberating to write something without the encumbrance of my previous books."
How did his existing fans react to the change of pace.
"Generally very good, although there have been a few malcontents. Some people were surprised, most pleasantly surprised but it's not so much different in terms of its edge and moral ambiguity."
And for those younger readers who decide to pick up his MA-rated earlier works? At age 13, Abercrombie said he was reading "everything" and although he admits hearing that children aged as young as 10 have read his adult books is a "little surprising", he hopes young adults  will appreciate reading something that isn't "morally simple".
"I've never talked down to readers. Young adults are young but adult and the last thing they want is to be spoon-fed shiny, optimistic stuff."
Abercrombie was touring around Australia and is heartened by how well some bookstores are doing, in contrast to the UK.
"It makes you feel sad," he said.
"But a business model that doesn't work can't be sustained.
"I fear that people of my kids' generation will not get the experience of wandering into an Aladdin's Cave of books and enjoying that sense of community with a bookseller.
"But I'm not sure what to do to reverse it. The pricing genie is out of the bottle."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Guest blog with Momentum author Amanda Bridgeman

Amanda Bridgeman was kind enough to let me waffle away and guest blog for her in February, so now I am delighted to return the favour as this fellow Momentum author guest blogs her way on a grand tour!
So who is Amanda Bridgeman...?

Born and raised in the seaside/country town of Geraldton, Western Australia, Amanda hails from fishing and farming stock. The youngest of four children, her three brothers raised her on a diet of Rocky, Rambo, Muhammad Ali and AC/DC. Naturally, she grew up somewhat of a tomboy, preferring to watch action/sci-fi films over the standard rom-com, and liking her music rock hard. But that said, she can swoon with the best of them.

 She lived in ‘Gero’ for 17 years, before moving to Perth (WA) to pursue her dreams and study film & television/creative writing at Murdoch University (BA Communication Studies). Perth has been her home ever since, aside from a nineteen month stint in London (England).

She is a writer and a film buff. She loves most genres, but is particularly fond of the Spec-Fic realm. She likes action, epic adventures, and strong characters that draw you in, making you want to follow them on their wild, rollercoaster rides. She has so far released three books in the Aurora series -Aurora: Darwin, Aurora: Pegasus, and Aurora: Meridian. The fourth book will be released this month.

Want to know more?
Follow Amanda here:

Facebook: Amanda Bridgeman

Twitter: @Bridgeman_Books

And of course her books can be found here:

Today Duncan has invited me to chat about being a female writer and writing from a male perspective. I guess when I started writing the Aurora series I never stopped to think about it like that – specifically me being a woman writing a male character and being inside his thoughts. Nor that I was also writing an African-American PoV – as a white woman. When I started writing, first and foremost I saw Harris as a lead character in a particular story, and a very human character at that. After all, that is essentially what we all are: human. Whether male or female. And I think that’s the first step in nailing a character – understanding the fundamental basis of them.
Of course it’s important to get the gender mindset right... If your readers don’t believe the character, their actions, their thought processes, then a writer is in a spot of trouble. So Duncan’s question got me thinking.
I’m not the most girly of girls. I tend to think of myself as 50/50 mix: 50% tomboy, 50% girl. I grew up with three older brothers – the oldest being 8 years old than me – so it’s fair to say they had a heavy influence on my upbringing. My brothers liked the ‘usual’ blokey things like footy, boxing, and rock ‘n’ roll. As a kid I watched the same TV and films they did. From The A-Team and the Alien series, to Rocky, Rambo, Jaws, and The Thing – they were all (what was considered then) male-dominated genres and I’m not sure whether I was ‘conditioned’ to like them because they did or whether I just inherently did.
So, as the youngest, it was only natural that I would look up to my brothers a lot. Whether it was just a kid sister thing or whether it was actually the observant writer in me taking note, I like to think that I just kinda became familiar with how guys act and think. At least in a non-romantic sense. And that is what Saul Harris is to Carrie Welles. He’s her captain, he’s a colleague. It’s a platonic (yet incredibly important) relationship. And I guess my upbringing made me an expert in that (and probably assisted with writing the Carrie Welles PoV too) – growing up in a male dominated house, with blokey brothers and an ex-farm boy for a father. Even my mother isn’t overly girly. She’s the practical kind, and probably stronger than all of us put together. But that’s another blog post…
Plutonic relationships aside, my brothers are all very heterosexual men (all three married and two of them with kids). They were also never shy about pointing out actresses and models they loved growing up (Elle Macpherson, Elizabeth Shue, Demi Moore, etc), so again, perhaps I was ‘conditioned’ to understand/see things from a male perspective in that regard, listening to their comments and conversations, and these observations could only help with writing the actions and dialogue of the rest of the male characters in the series.
I didn’t realise it until recently, but I have always been a people watcher. Everyone I speak to, have any kind of dealings with, I tend to subconsciously observe them. I notice facial/physical features, speech, and mannerisms, etc. More importantly, I always find myself analysing why they are the way they are. Especially people I know well. Sometimes I’ll question why someone is stubborn or afraid or catty or a tight-ass, etc, etc, and I look at their upbringing, or the stress on their life at the moment, and through this analysis I seem to understand why they are acting the way they are acting – how all the little pieces of their life come together and make them up in that very moment. And I realise now just how useful this observation is as a writer – whether writing male or female characters. Humans are complex, period. We are made up of a thousand different experiences, each one different, and it’s important to capture that in your writing to make your characters feel real to the reader.
So when I started writing Aurora: Darwin, the first book in the series, I didn’t really consciously think about having a main character that was male (or African-American for that matter). I just suddenly had this image of a tough but fair leader, and (male, African-American) Captain Saul Harris was born. So the image of him came to me first. When it came to writing him and fleshing him out, I guess the ‘conditioning’ to understand the male mind (to a certain point) was thanks to having three older brothers, but I also drew from my general ‘observation’ tanks to bring him to life - derived in part from every other male I have met, or seen on film/tv, or in interviews, on the news, etc.
Of course I didn’t get everything right the first go. One of my brothers was actually a beta reader and I distinctly recall him saying to me once: “There is no way Harris would use the word ‘buff’” (in reference to another soldier’s physique). So I scrapped that and used another word instead. Anything that bordered on ‘a little too soft for a military man’ was quickly pointed out and altered. After all, if my ‘average man’ brother thought it was too soft, it was definitely going to be way too soft for a tough captain, right?
That said, I think it provides a great disservice to military personnel everywhere to portray them as cardboard cut-out, action-packed, emotionless, indestructible heroes. Because they’re not. They’re humans doing an incredibly tough job (rightly or wrongly), but they are human none-the-less. Humans, who have families and friends, who will feel the same gamut of emotions that everyone else does, regardless of whether they are male or female. Humans, who bruise, bleed and die. Humans that hurt, just like the rest of us.
So, did I get Captain Saul Harris and the other male characters right? I certainly gave it my best shot based on my experiences and observations in life.
But ultimately, I guess that’s for the reader to decide.



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Guest post with author Justin Woolley: Can men write strong female characters?

By the end of The Last Quarrel, I hope that readers will be debating who is the real hero of the series: is it Fallon, who desperately wanted to be a hero or Bridgit, who wanted nothing of the sort?

Now, while I have always endeavoured to have strong female characters in all of my books, there is an ongoing debate as to whether men can write powerful women, and vice versa. With three sisters, a wife of almost 22 years and a teenage daughter I think I have some  understanding f the female psyche.

My wife may disagree!

But it is still a valid question. One of the UK's greatest fantasy writers, the late David Gemmell, only wrote one book with a woman as his main character, Ironhand's Daughter. It was his least successful and, he admits, his least favourite.

I have invited fellow Momentum Books author Sophie Masson to consider this question from the point of view of women writing strong men and now fellow Momentum Books author Justin Woolley writes from the point of view of men writing strong women.

Can it be done? You be the judge ...


Justin Woolley has been writing stories since he could first scrawl with a crayon. When he was six years old he wrote his first book, a 300-word pirate epic in unreadable handwriting called 'The Ghost Ship'. He promptly declared that he was now an author and didn't need to go to school. Despite being informed that this was, in fact, not the case, he continued to make things up and write them down. 

A Town Called Dust, Justin’s debut novel was published in November, 2014 by Momentum Books.

In his other life Justin has been an engineer, a teacher and at one stage even a magician. His handwriting has not improved. 

You can find Justin’s website at or on Twitter: @Woollz.


After Duncan joined the author top 5 series I have running on my blog with his wonderful post about Hollywood’s top 5 epic fails in movie battles he asked me to write a guest post for his blog in return. We had a brief discussion about what I could write about. I’ve never been that great at thinking up interesting topics for blog posts, thinking about the intricacies of a post-apocalyptic Australian society, sure, creating an alternate timeline in which Nazi forces occupy England, no problem, writing a story about the fallout of an alien race crash-landing on Earth, yup, but coming up with blog topics, not so much. Duncan helped me out with some ideas and the suggestion that really resonated with me was a question that fellow Momentum author Sophie Masson had just tackled as well, can authors effectively write characters of the opposite gender?


We thought it would be interesting if Sophie came at the question as a woman writing male characters that I could be the other side of the coin, can men effectively write female characters? I think this topic is particularly interesting to me as my debut novel ‘A Town Called Dust’ has dual protagonists, Squid, a young orphan boy, and Lynn, a girl who is the daughter of a military Colonel.


Many of my readers – the majority of which have been female thus far – have commented that Lynn was their favourite character, that she had depth, was strong in her convictions and yet had heart. So from that perspective can men write successful female characters?




End of blog post.


Wait though. Perhaps it’s not that simple because what those readers are actually commenting on are traits of people, not specifically female traits. That reminds me of everybody’s favourite genocidal author George R.R. Martin when he was asked in an interview how he writes such great female characters and he said, “You know, I’ve always considered women to be people.” That’s what I would say too. I wrote Lynn as a person. She has feelings and desires and worries that are universal and resonate with people.


To be honest while I was writing Lynn I was thinking about her more as a sixteen year old than as a female. I created her to reflect issues and concerns that many teenagers face. Being a female is often at the heart of her struggles – not being allowed to join the army because of her gender – but this is meant to reflect the way teens often clash with authority.


An interesting thought I had was that I wrote Lynn in the third person. It seems to me that many books I’ve read written by a male but containing strong, well-rounded female characters are often written in the third person. Perhaps there is something in that. Perhaps it is easier to write a character of the opposite gender in third person as you do not necessarily have to narrate their internal voice. The next series I’m working on once The Territory series is wrapped up has a female protagonist told from the first person – this may be the jump that makes writing a convincing female character more difficult.


I am a man and although I have a wife, mother, sisters, female friends, am a feminist in the true sense of the word and ultimately feel that I understand women reasonably well I will never be a woman. I will never truly know how a woman’s thoughts and feelings are experienced in a different way to my own. Trying to hear and inhabit that voice will always be more difficult.


We should still try it though because creating varied female characters through empathy and understanding is what male authors should be striving to do. Hopefully we can reach a time when we don’t hear talk about ‘strong female characters’ not because they don’t exist but because we’ve reached a point that they are commonplace. Then maybe we’ll come to realise that deep down character has nothing to do with reproductive organs.